Belongings, beaches and back tweaks…

Finally…. After leaving our belongings behind two months ago in Mexico, we were reunited last week – but not without incident. Nothing is ever simple! We received a telephone call from the shipping agent the Friday before last with instructions for us to go to Canada Customs in Halifax (not open till Monday, of course), so they could ‘officially’ release everything for re-importation, although the containers would remain sealed until our inventory had been stamped as being duty-free. Yay! No problem. “Welcome back to Canada”.

The agent then called late on Monday to say our shipment would be delivered a day earlier than originally quoted, on Wednesday. Yay, again! “Oh! By the way, will your driveway take an 80-foot tractor-trailer unit?” Nope! It’s easy access from the highway, and a good turning circle in front of the house – but an 80-foot unit? Nah ah! So, shipment having to be transferred to a smaller delivery truck.

The moving van arrives….

Late on Tuesday, another phone call. The truck with all our belongings on board had broken down, a mechanic would be arriving Wednesday morning, but they might have to transfer our belongings to yet another truck, and it’d now be Thursday, between 9:00 and 9:30, before we see all our ‘stuff’. Okay, these things happen, and we weren’t exactly sitting around twiddling our thumbs while we waited.

Nearly here!

Thursday, 9:00, came and went…. Then 9:30, then 10:00. Finally, at 10:30 Peter called the agent, who had a GPS link to the truck and confirmed they’d just passed Bridgewater. Half an hour later, a moving truck overshot our drive and disappeared along the road, with us wondering how far he’d have to go before he could turn around. However, within a few minutes we could see him backing up beyond the trees. Yay! Finally, the five crates (each measuring 7’x4’x4’) that were sealed in Mexico, were levered open to reveal a remarkable jigsaw-puzzle of packing to ensure nothing moved in transit during the 6,000-kilometre road trip, undoubtedly with some additional detours to pick up or drop off other shipments along the way. Nothing missing, nothing broken – a couple of minor scrapes and one wonky leg on the piano, but we could finally breathe again.

The crates await…

However, for everyone who can recall our endeavours with raising and lowering furniture from a third-floor balcony…. Now, think king-size mattress! Thankfully, the base came in two halves that danced quite niftily around the corners and up the stairs to the top floor master bedroom, but we had warned the shipping agent that his crew might well need to hoist the mattress – and I have the photos to prove it.

Hooray, and up she rises!

It was fortunate that knowing they had a piano to move up a flight of stairs, the shipping agent sent two extra guys, and it needed all four to raise that mattress that had been safely strapped and roped before its precarious ascent. In fact, a team of Sherpas could have been useful, too, given the lofty height to which the mattress had to be raised. Yay! Hats off to the guys from Premiere Van Lines in Dartmouth who, apart from a smattering of choice expletives (nothing to make a woman blush!) that invoked a few iconic names, gave us the best night’s sleep since we arrived ‘home’.

The last few inches…

Ironically, the piano was far easier – lifted onto a stair sledge (likely not what it’s called in professional moving parlance, but that’s what it looked like), that defied gravity as it moved gracefully up the staircase. Remember that scene in Mary Poppins(the original version), when Mary elegantly slid up the bannister rail – well, this was it, but with a piano. Phew! Apart from being rather out of tune – which was to be expected – I can at least now play a very off-key rendition of When the Saints go marching in….

The appliances and the yellow have gotta go!

Moving into any new house always throws up its fair share of unknowns and unanticipated occurrences, and ours has been no exception. How many new home owners have said “I wonder why they did that?”, referencing the quirks, architectural foibles* and design faux pas of former residents. Of course, people have likely said that about our past homes, too, but there’s always a method to the madness if only one knew the history of a place. In this case, a custom kitchen with sunflower yellow cabinets – that at first glance I thought was rather swish, but having lived with it for a few weeks, now realize that the colour has to go.

Pip inspecting the taped site of the new island

Thankfully, because the kitchen measures 25’x23’ into the dining room, we’re planning to ‘repaint’ the cabinets rather than ‘replace’ them, saving ourselves a barrel-load of money in the process. The long run of Corian countertop – that perhaps cost more than all the cabinetry – is pearl white, so a neutral accompaniment for anything and everything else. As it happens, the cabinets will be repainted a cross between warm white and cream, with a dark wood island – that will both go well with the current aqua walls. Of course, the island plan called for another trip to IKEA and a consultation with a kitchen planner who, with the help of a very flexible online planning tool, threw together a few chic cabinets that were fitted with stylish doors and drawers, dropped in some peachy interiors, and finally dropped on a stylish countertop. Eureka! In the space of a couple of hours, with some occasional back-tracking and mind-changing, we (and Josh) had designed the Rolls Royce of kitchen islands without breaking the bank. Of course, when some 50+ boxes arrives and had to be sorted, unpacked and assembled….

The unfinished island – awaiting the prep sink, power, and countertop…

But, Peter worked his magic and, although we still have a few days to wait for the countertop (a mottled finish to complement the corian, which we’d decided not to match in order to remain mortgage-free), the plumber’s already been to connect a water supply for a prep sink, working with an electrician at the same time to run power to the island.

Then, bummer! Yesterday, reaching down to lift a heavy pile of plates to reorganize the kitchen cupboards, I tweaked my back. Crap! Dontcha love it when your body suddenly complains. It could well have been caused by the fact that I’ve been nursing a slight muscle strain on my left side following an energetic game of pickleball a few days ago, but I didn’t give it a second thought and…. Wham!

Fingers crossed my whole bod is back to 100% within the next few days, because we’ve joined a great group of pickleball players at a club in Bridgewater. Some are among the top-ranked pickleballers in Nova Scotia, so games are always highly competitive and a tough work-out. However, with eternal thanks to the endless patience, drilling, shot-honing and game strategies of our pickleball friends and neighbours in Mexico – especially Joe and Nick, as well as Paul for his amazing coaching camp, and others, we certainly don’t feel out of our league, and very thankful that we’ve been warmly welcomed by this new group. And, Joe – I’m still keeping my self-criticizing to myself!

The wall without purpose!

*Hmm! Architectural foibles: For some reason, when the house was built, someone thought it would be a good idea to construct a half wall in the lounge, effectively creating a corridor to a large outdoor deck. Apart from an additional power point, we couldn’t see any useful purpose for the wall – other than a shelf for plants and ornaments to gather dust – so decided that one day we’d likely look at demolishing it.


Well, ‘the day’ came sooner rather than later. Peter woke up one morning in destruction mode, pulled out his trusty club hammer, and gave me the honour of slamming the first holes in the dry wall to pass the point of no return.


Yay! Several hours, and not too much dust later, the wall was gone, and our lounge had gained around 40-square-feet of open-concept space. Thankfully, the previous owners had left some additional floor tiles that can be used to patch the floor, so it’ll soon be good as new.


Otherwise – things are moving along, and it was one month ago yesterday that we moved into the new house. We’re at least trying to take some time out to explore our beautiful Cherry Hill locale, including an afternoon stroll along our beach – currently closed to dogs because it’s one of the prime breeding grounds of the endangered piping plover. However, don’t fret – we jump in the car and take the dogs to Crescent Beach, a few minutes down the road, several times a week for a good romp and some fun in the surf. (Doggie pics to follow next time.) We chuckled thinking about the photos of the sizzling beaches in Spain and the UK, so cramped with umbrellas and not a grain of sand in sight….

Cherry Hill Beach stretching into the distance…

When we strolled along Cherry Hill beach at 5:00 p.m., with many kilometres of find sand, it was still a balmy 25 degrees, with a nice breeze blowing in from the Atlantic, and there wasn’t another soul in sight….. Blue sky to an endless horizon, Mother Nature in all her glory, the ocean tickling our toes – it was easy to believe that the beach was ours, and ours alone. The highway to bliss…

Signing off, until next time

12 Replies to “Belongings, beaches and back tweaks…

  1. So glad your things arrived! Really enjoy your blog. What a lovely beach. And so happy you are both keen Pickleball’s. Great job removing the wall. Can’t wait to see the cabinets.

    1. Do you still have the same phone numbers, Debby. I’ll give you a call so we can catch up with a chat. xx

  2. Whell, had to google what Pickleballs ist – and hope your all 100% again in the meantime. Take care! Looking forward to the final kitchen.

    1. LOL – has pickleball not arrived in Switzerland yet? I’m looking forward to the kitchen being finished, too. Then I’ll be baking up a storm! Will you be going to SM in September? xx

  3. Great to see the photos. And your moving adventures are heroic. Is it courage or optimism that gets you through? Wishing you much happiness there. Look forward to more pictures.

    1. Oh, Janet! A lot of people might say we’re crazy, but we simply put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, dealing with whatever life brings every day. Maybe you and Tony will feel like a trip to the Maritimes sometime? Would love to see you. xx

    1. It’s getting there – and we have some of our Mexican mementos to remind us of fond times with friends and neighbours.Say “hi” to Lewis, and give each other a hug from both of us. xx

  4. You are truly home now, and with all your stuff to boot. Enjoy those beach walks. Sounds like you might just stay there for a bit….Ha! Thank you for sharing your adventures!

    1. Yep! Peter’s going crazy with bird photos, which he posts on his Instagram page, but I should perhaps drop a couple into my next blog. Things have been so hectic that I haven’t really had time to stop to smell the roses (if we had any!) yet. Proverbially speaking. However, I appreciated our land the other morning when we had two eastern cottontails, a couple of red squirrels, and mourning doves sitting on the drive, plus house finches, blue jays, American goldfinches, and hummingbirds at the feeders, among others. And, what Peter thought was a golden eagle floating around, although a little too far away to see whether it might have been a juvenile baldy. He was thinking the former, simply because of its size. We’re certainly enjoying the peace and tranquility, although wouldn’t mind an improvement in the weather, which has been the worst spring/summer for 70 years according to some of the locals. Que sera! Still hoping to see you in September. xx

  5. Hi Jean and Peter,
    Really smiled a lot while reading your blog. You guys are amazing. Honestly! A piano! We too have had an adventure, although not as dramatic as yours. Two weeks in Venice with our local glassblowers and other artists. Went to the Biennale often and had a magical time. I’ve been saying that in our 500 year old building, I couldn’t run down the stairs and open the door too quickly or I would have fallen in the canal! Very Best Wishes for all you are doing in what looks like a magical place. Charlotte

    1. What a fabulous experience for you in Venice. How’s Tom’s ankle – has it recovered 100% from his accident two years ago. I’ll never forget as it was one of Peter’s last calls as a paramedic on the island. Would love to hear what you’re writing these days. I keep thinking that my blog is keeping my brain and fingers active for a major writing project one day when I get beyond semi-retirement and have more time to myself. In the meantime, I’m enjoying simply letting the adventures flow into words. Hugs to you both. Jean xx

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